Monday, September 22, 2014

Fishy Crabbiness

  My twin nephews' turned two recently. In celebration of this great accomplishment, I made them some things. I was making two pairs of jeans, but the day before their party the second pair was barely cut out, let alone sewn. I needed something quick, that a two-year-old might like, and that was at least a little bit boyish. I decided on this little guy:

  and this guy:

  The crab is Casey the Crab, a free pattern from While She Naps. It was a surprisingly quick sew, and took me about an hour total. I didn't have any safety eyes on hand, so I just embroidered those as well as the mouth. I used quilting cotton that I had in my collection (collection is so much nicer a word than stash) and I am really pleased how it turned out! I probably should have clipped my curves better, but the pattern was impressively perfect.

  The fish is another free pattern, this one from Birch Fabrics. I made the small version, and it was a good bit more complicated than the crab. It took closer to three hours to sew this one. There were a few tiny bits that didn't quite line up, but overall it was great, and particularly so for a free pattern. The lines on the fins were the most difficult part to sew because the pieces were pretty small and there was a lot of thickness from the stuffing. I think the larger version would be a bit easier to sew.
  These fabrics are also from my collection. They probably aren't what I would have chosen if I'd been in a fabric store, but compared to anything else I had in the way of non-girly fabrics, they are perfection. =) Again, I should have clipped my curves better. Also, I didn't think of it until too late, but it would have been awesome if I'd fussy cut the head piece so part of the fabric design was in the position of an eye.

  And how did my darling nephews like them? Well, they threw them on the ground and ignored them in favor of toy power tools... such boys. ;-) I'm hoping they'll enjoy them more when they aren't in the middle of a pile of presents, and if not, maybe their baby sister will. My daughters could hardly keep their hands off these stuffed toys, and have been begging for a 'crowd' of their own ever since I started the crab, so there may be more of these in my future.

  Since my last post, I've updated my free gusseted coin purse pattern... it isn't crooked anymore! I'd love to see it if you make one!

Thanks for stopping by,

Friday, September 19, 2014

Leather Love Coin Purse

  Since my last post, my camera broke to the point of uselessness.... I tried both of my zoom lenses, and no matter what I changed, every photo was ridiculously blurry. Then a few days ago, I decided I might as well see if my prime lens was the same way, since the chances of me getting a new camera right now are about zero, and the same for sending it off to be fixed. Guess what... it worked! And just in time to photograph my latest creation, this coin purse that I adore.

  I didn't adore it while making it though. The exterior is leather, which increases the thickness in the seams by quite a bit, and I (foolishly) added fusible fleece on the lining.

  After sewing the lining all together, but before sewing it to the outer, I decided I really didn't like the way the orange fabric I'd chosen looked with the leather, and went rummaging through my fabric collection to find a better one.

  I finally found an ill-fitting (ordered online and uncomfortably small) dress stashed away for refashioning purposes, and decided it would be perfect. So I sewed a second lining from the butterfly fabric of the dress, again using fusible fleece on it. I sewed the entire purse this time, turning and top-stitching, and was ready to glue it.... but there was a problem.

   No matter what I did, I just couldn't stuff the thick layer at the seam into the frame, even after trimming the seam allowances and hammering the seams. I even tried stretching the frame open a bit, but it just ruined it. That meant that it was time for a third lining, as well as a new frame.

  Luckily, the dress I'd chosen to sacrifice for fabric was ankle-length and there was plenty for a new interior. This time, since the fabric was on the delicate side and still needed some reinforcement, but with as little thickness as possible, I used a firm but thin interfacing. I would have used a medium interfacing, but I don't have any right now.

  This time, there were no problems. I hammered the seams, and they just barely slipped into a new (not ruined) frame, The gluing even went smoothly, which is more than I can say about most of the coin purses I've sewn. The only thing I'm still not quite pleased with is that the interfacing I used wrinkled a lot during the turning process, and it didn't iron out.

  Now you know why I didn't love sewing this one!

  I liked the exterior from the beginning though... the reverse applique turned out perfectly, and I love the way the dainty floral looks next to the leather.

  I added some buttons that I salvaged from some beyond-repair clothes about 16 years ago (if you are paying attention, yes, I had a button stash before I really learned how to sew), sewing them on and top-stitching around the heart with bright pink thread.

  When the outer layer is fabric, I prefer finished-edge reverse applique, but for the leather it would have been too bulky... besides which, leather edges don't fray.

  The pattern is my own (I'm updating that pattern soon. No more wonky pattern!) and the leather I bought almost three years ago with plans to make a wallet that didn't work out. The leather is interfaced with lightweight fusible interfacing. And yes, you CAN iron on leather. It might shrink with steam, but it's easy enough to just block-fuse and cut after.

  The heart was cut from the cutest faux-patchwork fabric Tia Eva gave me.... I was originally planning on cutting the heart from the junction between four pieces, but this rose block was too cute not to use.

  I don't have plans for this one yet... I'm considering re-opening my Etsy shop and trying to sell it, but I'm thinking I'll wait until I have a few more items I can sell.

  And now, I'm off to take care of my temperamental children. =)

Thanks for stopping by!